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Trump's proposed 2020 budget could hurt affordable housing in Delaware

The budget proposal released by the Trump Administration last week would eliminate several programs funding affordable housing. First State elected officials gathered at a Habitat for Humanity construction site Wednesday to speak out against the proposed cuts.


Kevin Smith is CEO of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County. He says the organization receives $100, 000 to $200,000 a year in federal funding through New Castle County.

“Out in New Castle County in the unincorporated areas, most of the houses we’ve built— probably close to eighty— have had some sort of federal funding in them,” said Smith. “So we wouldn’t be able to build nearly that amount.”

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer says one of the programs the President wants to cut— Community Development Block Grants— helped more than 2,300 New Castle County residents last year.

Meyer says nearly a million dollars was invested in affordable housing in unincorporated areas of New Castle County last year through the federal HOME Investment Partnership programs, which the budget proposal would eliminate.

Trump’s budget also proposes “uniform work requirements across welfare programs," including rental assistance, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Roughly 136,000 Delawareans receive federal food assistance, according to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).

Meyer says the County does not have a contingency plan if the budget cuts were to be approved. “This would represent a nearly 20 percent cut in our $20 million affordable housing budget,” said Meyer. “And I have no idea where we’d get that money from. I have no idea where we’d get that money from.”

Meyer says he’s hopeful that Congress will push back against the proposed cuts.

Sen. Chris Coons, who sits on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, called President Trump’s proposed budget cuts “devastating."

“He’s proposing not to just trim or narrow or shave, but to literally eliminate whole programs that New Castle County, that the City of Wilmington, that the State of Delaware rely on,” he said.

Coons adds he is “determined to do everything I can to make sure that these cuts do not come true.”



Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.